Nel's New Day

June 11, 2018

Supreme Court Permits Vote Purging, Other Court Actions

Monday in June means the dribbling of decisions from major Supreme Court cases for the year. Today’s ruling in a 5-4 vote legitimizes the purging of registered voters from rolls if they miss elections. Ohio’s law may be unethical (my opinion) but not against federal law (Samuel Alito’s opinion). The National Voting Rights Act prevents the removal of voters because they fail to vote but requires states to keep accurate rolls. The court’s justification for the ruling comes from the lack of response to a postcard followed by four years of not voting. Cases still waiting for announced decisions concern DDT’s travel ban, gerrymandering, internet sales taxes, union fees, mobile phone privacy, and credit card fees.

Policies promulgated by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) are crossing the line into illegal. Despite DOJ AG Jeff Sessions’ claim that all children are removed from parents when immigrants try to cross the southern border, HHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen refused to be specific about this aim in a Senate hearing and avoided the term “deterrence” because she knows that this policy is illegal. A federal judge blocked President Obama in 2015 from locking up Central American immigrant mothers and their children without bond to stop others from crossing the border, and the 1997 Flores settlement bars locking up children in detention centers. To avoid this problem, the DOJ takes children from parents and treats them as if they came by themselves. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit and asked for a nationwide injunction to stop DDT’s family separation policy.

The DOJ lawyer claimed that they weren’t systematically separating mothers, but three days later Sessions announced that the “zero tolerance” police included mothers with their children. The judge ruled that the case against the policy can move forward because it “arbitrarily tears at the sacred bond between parent and child. Such conduct, if true, as it is assumed to be on the present motion, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.”

Until the World of Trump, the DOJ defended federal law, no matter the political views of the DOJ and the sitting president. Now AG Jeff Sessions is supporting lawsuits from 20 GOP states to invalidate the provisions in the Affordable Care Act mandating that all people buy insurance and thus removing the requirement that healthcare provide for pre-existing conditions. The 17 Democratic-led states have filed a brief to argue for the retention of the ACA, and three career DOJ attorneys refuse to back DOJ support. Instability will cause higher charges for healthcare premiums in 2019. The DOJ controls the nation’s laws by deciding which ones to defend—legal decisions by caprice.

Doing away with the ACA could be a GOP ecological approach to reducing population and make Republicans an endangered species. Although a majority of die-hard Republicans oppose the ACA, 54 percent of people have a favorable view with strong support by independents. Support for the law grows each time that the GOP tries to repeal it.

Philadelphia will keep its status as a so-called sanctuary city after it won its lawsuit against the federal government. The DOJ had pulled a grant because the city would not allow ICE agents into city prisons, notify them when undocumented immigrants leave prisons, and give them information about their immigration status. The city argued that its police force is not an arm of federal agencies, and the judge wrote that the refusal was based in “reasonable, rational,” and “equitable” logic.

Arizona has agreed to allow voters to register without providing proof of citizenship at the time of registration.

The Arizona Court of Appeals upheld a Phoenix ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop. The three-judge panel wrote: “[A]llowing a vendor who provides goods and services for marriages and weddings to refuse similar services for gay persons would result in ‘a community-wide stigma inconsistent with the history and dynamics of civil rights laws that ensure equal access to goods, services and public accommodations.’” They added that the law “regulates conduct, not speech.” The baker won his case not to sell one wedding cake to a gay couple but the opinion essentially ruled in favor of LGBTQ rights.

The 9th Circuit Court has just ruled that Maricopa County (AZ) is liable for the racist traffic stop policies of former Joe Arpaio, now a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. After the federal district court ruling, Arpaio was found in civil contempt of court and criminal contempt for continuing his discriminatory practices after a court order not to enforce federal immigration law on a local level. DDT pardoned him on the civil contempt charges, but the cost to the county is almost $100 million. Maricopa County claimed it wasn’t liable for his actions because he was a policymaker for his own office or the entire state—not the county. The three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit Court disagreed.

DDT’s NFL problem with keeping players from kneeling during the national anthem won’t go away: Colin Kaepernick is suing the NFL for collusion against him because he was blacklisted for leading the NFL players’ protest of police brutality against blacks. Kaepernick’s lawyers plan to request subpoenas for DDT, VP Mike Pence, and White House officials in seeking the DDT administration’s involvement in making players stand during the national anthem. DDT suggested pardoning Ali when he said that he was looking at “thousands of names” of people he can pardon. A lawyer for Ali already turned down DDT, stating that there is no crime for DDT to pardon. Ron Tweel pointed out that the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction in 1971 for Ali’s resisting the draft in June 1967. DDT’s comment was made after he made his appeal to black voters by pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, who has already served 21 years of a life term for nonviolent offenses, a week after he met with Kim Kardashian West. Johnson was convicted on money laundering, one of the charges against Paul Manafort. About DDT pardoning Muhammad Ali, his wife said that “the pardon should go to those who kneel.”

The number of lawsuits surrounding Stormy Daniels has increased after Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti discovered that other women were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements for extramarital affairs with DDT At least one of them was represented by Daniels’ previous lawyer, Keith Davidson. The new lawsuit claims that he “colluded” with DDT’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen to get Daniels on Sean Hannity’s Fox program to falsely deny that she had an affair with DDT. The lawsuit also alleges that DDT was aware of the two lawyers’ coordination but Daniels wasn’t. Another allegation is that Davidson broke client confidentiality by telling Cohen that Daniels was getting a new lawyer and announcing that she had an affair with DDT. Texts show that the two lawyers agreed that Daniels would have no interviews except through Davidson. DDT and Sean Hannity may be called as witnesses.

Davidson retaliated with his own lawsuit against Daniels and Avenatti with a separate one against Cohen for illegally recording phone calls with Davidson. He claimed that he only communicated with Cohen after instructed by his client.

The DOJ seized phone and email records from New York Times reporter Ali Watkins in its investigation into James Wolfe, formerly Senate Intelligence Committee’s director of security, who was indicted for lying to investigators. Watkins said that they had a personal relationship, but he was not a source for her. It is the first case of DDT seizing a reporter’s records, and Wolfe was not charged with passing classified information despite DDT’s inuendos. Leaking unclassified government information is not illegal. DOJ rules require officials to exhaust all of possibilities and negotiate with the reporter before taking legal action to get the records. There was no negotiation, and other actions before taking the records were not made clear. Watkins broke the news about DDT’s associate Carter Page meeting with a Russian spy in 2013.

The UN is demanding an immediate stop to the U.S. removal of children from families at the border because it violates their right and international law. The U.S. refuses to stop the practice and declares all entries as illegal although families requesting asylum, not an illegal entry, are also being separated. The A.C.L.U. has filed a class-action lawsuit, demanding a stop to the separation and reunification of families.

In the UN, the U.S. vetoed an Arab-backed Kuwait measure with ten votes to protect Palestinians from Israelis. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s resolution to condemn Hamas for Israeli violence in Gaza got only the U.S. vote. Israelis have killed 124 Palestinians, including journalists and medics, and wounded over a thousand more along the fence to Gaza where two million poor Palestinians, displaced by Israelis in 1948, live. No Israelis have been killed.

The Treasury Department has threatened governments and private companies if they trade with Iran. Under Secretary of the Treasury Sigal Mandelker said:

“Companies doing business in Iran face substantial risks, and those risks are even greater as we reimpose nuclear-related sanctions. We will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.”

This website tracks court cases in which citizens, tribal nations, state and local governments, business owners, and others are standing up for U.S. conservation laws, common-sense energy rules, and ethics and transparency standards at the Department of the Interior.

May 11, 2018

DDT: Weeks 67-68 – Iran, North Korea Plus Religion, Giuliani

Catching up on the last two weeks of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) roller-coaster events:

Will the United States go to war to support Israel? That question may be front and center now that DDT has withdrawn from the Iran agreement for that nation’s denuclearization. Israel fired on targets in Syria that were believed to be Iranian soon after DDT’s withdrawal. Claims that Iran fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights the most extensive Israeli bombing on Syria since the countries signed a disengagement agreement after the October war of 1973. Israel has illegally occupied Golan Heights since the Six-Day War in 1967. DDT’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, are scheduled to arrive in Israel soon for the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured Israel that the U.S. will stand at its side in a fight.

DDT’s officials are circulating a report from Securities Studies Group, an organization with ties to DDT’s national security adviser John Bolton, that provides strategy for a regime change in Iran is being circulated among DDT’s officials. The plan is to stir unrest and help the Iran public to drive a wedge between the people and the nation’s rulers. The plan sounds identical to Russia’s approach to control the 2018 presidential election.

Israel’s military escalation came after DDT decided to please some of his constituents—including Vladimir Putin and Israel—by withdrawing from the Iranian deal. Russia’s economy desperately needs the rubles from the increase in oil prices if Iranian resources aren’t available. At the same time, Russia is concerned about Israel’s attacks on Iran, but DDT may side with Israel, again separating him from Putin. Perhaps DDT figures that a world war would allow him to declare military law, like in Turkey, so that he can remain dictator forever. Bernard Avishai discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s motivations and the dangers of his country in pushing a war in the Middle East.

DDT announced his withdrawal several days before the deadline at the same time the media jumped on the millions of dollars in “pay to play” paid to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen for access to DDT. Since payments made to DDT’s personal lawyer were first announced, the amount has vastly grown, for example AT&T’s $600,000 to Cohen for access to DDT instead of $200,000. CEO Randall Stephenson called Cohen’s hiring “a big mistake,” and top lobbyist for the company, Bob Quinn, has retired. Quinn was a leader in opposing net neutrality. AT&T also paid Cohen to get approval for its $85 billion merger with Time Warner. Drugmaker Novartis agreed that its $1.2 million contract with Cohen was “a mistake.” Reports as of now show that Cohen was paid $2.95 million through Essential Consultants, the shell company Cohen set up to funnel hush money to Stormy Daniels and perhaps others. The involved companies learned about Essential Consultants because Cohen reached out to them.

In his work to guarantee never-ending war for the U.S., former VP Dick Cheney, who mythologized weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, went on Fox Business directing DDT to believe the falsehood that Iran has these weapons. He also encouraged the continuation of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (aka torture).

DDT is also hoping that people will ignore all the Russia and Cohen scandals because three U.S. prisoners have been released from North Korea. He also hopes that his talks with North Korea will result in his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, even encouraging his rally crows to chant, “No-bel, No-bel. When the prisoners arrived at 3:00 am, he said, “I think you probably broke the all time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.” DDT also thanked North Korean president Kim Jong-Un “ who really was excellent to these three incredible people.” They had been imprisoned for at least a year, and one of them had been sentenced to ten years’ hard labor in one of the world’s most brutal prisons. DDT plans to meet with Kim Jong-Un in Singapore on June 12.

While people become excited about the release of prisoners in North Korea, they forget the four U.S. citizens still held in Iran for longer than the newly released NK ones. DDT’s withdrawal spells disaster for these people, one of them 81 years old. Another two U.S. men are still illegally imprisoned in Turkey. 

Although DDT’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity only nine days ago, so much has happened that it could have been last year. Giuliani, DDT’s lawyer for one day, said that DDT had paid Cohen $35,000 a week to clean up hush money to Stormy Daniels about her affair with DDT as well as “things that might come up.” DDT first agreed that he paid off Daniels and then tried to deny that he did, going so far as to say that Giuliani “will get his fact straight.” Giuliani lacks the skill to stay quiet, a serious problem in court. (Transcript for the program.)  Giuliani went on another talk show to say that he knew the payment didn’t look good immediately before the election but changed his story to say that the settlement was made solely “to protect the President’s family.” He also might be waiving attorney-client privilege by saying that he had conferred with DDT before he talked about DDT paying Cohen. About the payoff, Giuliani said:

“I don’t think the president realized he paid him back for that specific thing until we made him aware of the paperwork.”

Despite being released from his law firm and claiming “sole concentration” as DDT’s lawyer, Giuliani appeared in a Florida court today to represent a woman accused of purchasing car insurance ten minutes after her car crash. He isn’t licensed to practice law in Florida but said the woman was her personal assistant.

DDT’s staff tried to prep him in advance of any interview with Robert Mueller, but he could answer only two questions in four hours. The argument might be that an interview could cut into time for his important work in the Oval Office, but evidence indicates that he “works” less than two hours a day. DDT is still falsely accusing that the investigators are Democrats as he continues his rant against the investigation. DDT is back to saying that he wants an interview with Mueller, but most people no longer believe him.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) issued DOJ with a subpoena after he was refused extensive information about a longtime intelligence source for the CIA and FBI with the concern that the source could be jeopardized if Nunes discovers the person’s identity. Common knowledge indicates that Nunes wants the information to take to the White House. DOJ officials offered a classified briefing about his demand, but Nunes threatened a contempt charge against AG Jeff Sessions. He also has not bothered to read earlier classified information that he demanded. Nunes is under investigation for three potential campaign law violations.

Giuliani’s bombshell about DDT’s paying off Stormy Daniels intersected with DDT’s appearance for the day of prayer, causing CNBC to tweet, “Trump leads National Prayer Day event after saying he repaid lawyer for hush money to porn star.” DDT signed the “White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative” that permits religious organizations to use taxpayer money to discriminate on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, allow religious organizations to be “experts” for public policy, remove requirements that religious groups refer anyone objecting to their teachings to other programs, and use his new “faith-based office” to guarantee no blocking of “liberty of conscience” of believers. (Sounds like Sharia law for evangelicals.) The major groups wanting to deny services to LGBTQ people are Mormons and white evangelicals, 20 percent of the population. Among that 20 percent, 47 percent think that it’s wrong to refuse business based on religious convictions.

States such as Kansas and Oklahoma are already passing laws permitting adoption agencies to prevent same-gender couples from adopting children. A lesbian couple in Mississippi was denied an adoption by the state the day before they were scheduled to take their daughter home despite a court ruling that the Mississippi’s ban on same-gender adoptions was struck down by a federal judge in 2016. In another case, the state Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian couple could divorce; a dissenting justice, Jess Dickinson, is now head of the agency denying the couple their legally adopted child. Bryan Fischer, former spokesman for the American Family Association (AFA), announced on his show that only Christians have First Amendment rights and protections.

Anti-LGBTQ preacher Kevin Swanson will hold the Bible Family Conference in Washington, D.C. on August 10-11. He wants to execute all LGBTQ people and all Girls Scout leaders because they support LGBTQ and women’s rights. He also wants Boy Scouts, now called Scouts BSA because it recruits girls as well as boys, to have a “sodomy merit badge” because openly gay scouts can join the organization. The name of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) has disappeared as keynote speaker.

The six worst states for LGBTQ support are Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

More later!

March 16, 2018

DDT: Week 60 – Stormy Weather Ahead

Two connected stories focusing on Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) broke today—the firing of his adversary Andrew McCabe and the attempt to hide information from porn star Stormy Daniels.

First, the less salacious but more problematic DDT attack.  Slightly over 24 hours before his retirement, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired for lying with the possibility of losing his retirement benefits for over 20 years in the intelligence agency. McCabe may be the first person in the DDT administration to lose a job for lying. AG Jeff Sessions has stayed, despite his lying under oath during his confirmation hearings, and Mike Pompeo was promoted from CIA Director to Secretary of State after lying about Russian meddling in the presidential election. DDT, well-known for his thousands of lies, bragged about lying to the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

The termination, which occurred at a unique and unprecedented lightning speed, came after DDT incessantly attacked him for the past several months. Sessions either fired McCabe or got fired himself. DDT’s goal is to discredit McCabe from being a witness to a charge of DDT’s obstruction of justice. McCabe can corroborate testimony that DDT tried to persuade former FBI director James Comey to cover for DDT in the Russian Collusion. DDT also tried to convince Comey to close the investigation into Michael Flynn, then national security adviser. DDT’s technique of getting people fired is a technique to keep remaining people loyal to him no matter what.

It’s  guarantee that McCabe will not go quietly.

McCabe’s firing has not stopped the media from covering DDT’s problems with porn queen Stormy Daniels. Today, DDT’s lawyers requested that the case be moved from a California court to federal court, where DDT appoints judges, with the hope that arbitration, more successful in federal courts, would keep the Daniels’ details out of the public eye. A second motion includes DDT’s name in the case. The motions were filed the day after 60 Minutes announced that its segment with Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, would air on March 25. Avenatti pointed out how the case is unprecedented—”a sitting president is pursuing over $20 million in bogus damages against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened.”

Other revelations about Daniels:

  • Daniels’ case has already been moved to a new judge because the former one wants a federal judgeship from DDT.
  • Daniels has been threatened with physical harm, according to Avenatti.
  • Other women have approached Avenatti describing involvement with DDT.
  • DDT’s lawyer Michael Cohen had help from a Trump Organization lawyer for the first restraining order against Daniels.
  • Cohen used official Trump Organization email to set up the transfer of the $130,000 into the Manhattan First Republican Bank to wire the funds to Daniels. The use of the email account negates Cohen’s claim that “neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
  •  Cohen claims he borrowed against his home equity to finance the $130,000 payment to Daniels which would violate federal campaign donations. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed both civil and criminal complaints, asking DOJ and the Office of Government Ethics to investigate a potential violation of federal law because DDT failed to list the money on his federally-mandated disclosure forms.
  • Cohen is pursuing a libel suit against BuzzFeed that could make Daniels’ records public.
  • The notary failed to sign three nondisclosure documents in the lawsuit although she stamped them. Texas is investigating notary Erica Jackson who could lose her commission. Jackson said she doesn’t remember the agreement.

In an NYT op-ed, Charles Blow supports his belief that “Melania knew” about Daniels—beginning when DDT picked Melania up while he was on a date with another woman. Five months after DDT proposed to Melania, he agreed on a radio show with Howard Stern that daughter Ivanka is “a piece of ass.” Nine months after he married Melania, DDT bragged about sexually assaulting women on tape while Melanie is three months pregnant. Four months after son Barron’s birth, DDT started his multi-month affair with Stormy Daniels and claimed on The View that he’s like to date Ivanka if she weren’t his daughter. It’s not the infidelity that should be bothersome, according to Blow: it’s DDT’s “worldview about women … that they are mere objects and opportunities, a reward owed to men of wealth, and that objections and protestations are invalid.” DDT defends not only himself but also every other man who denies their sexual misconduct.

Consider the irony of this president pushing abstinence-only (aka “sexual delay”) education.

The McCabe and Daniels events may block the memories of earlier events this past week, such as notifying the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a tweet about his replacement, the on-going Russian scandal, and the Democratic win in an almost entirely white U.S. House district that voted for DDT by 20 points just less than two years ago. But there’s more.

Last Saturday, DDT gave an old-fashioned campaign rally for himself in the gerrymandered GOP district with a few mentions of the Republican candidate who ran against Conor Lamb. He attacked democracy by inviting boos for the media while discouraging the same response for North Korea and China before he bragged about how smart he is and what a good speaker is. Privately, DDT called Saccone a terrible “weak” candidate. In his speech, DDT called Chuck Todd, host of Meet the Press, “a sleeping son of a b——.” When Todd asked Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin if this was appropriate for children, Mnuchin said that they should focus on the policies, that DDT likes “funny names”—like calling Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) “a very low-IQ individual.”

Other issues last week:

DDT’s Veterans’ Day parade may not have tanks, but it could still feed every homeless veteran in the United States for two weeks by the most conservative estimate. He won’t have the parade if the cost is not “reasonable,” but that cost was not defined. The Pentagon’s memo said the parade will have “an emphasis on the price of freedom” which seems to be around $30 million.

DDT is wooing Latinx by blaming the Democrats for not protecting DACA, the program that he ended last September.

DDT exempted Canada and Mexico from his tariff order on steel and aluminum, removing tariffs from 20 percent of these imports. Then he said that he might exempt Australia while Japan, South Korea, the European Union and Brazil are requesting the same privilege, which would almost double the existing exemptions. [China exports little steel to the U.S., less than two percent of the total, although DDT bought the steel and aluminum for his last three Las Vegas projects from China.]

DDT bragged about deliberately lying about trade deficits to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his California speech to donors. At the same time, he ridiculed Trudeau when he talked about the conversation. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. has a trade surplus with Canada, exporting $12.5 more goods in services than it imported from Canada. In the same fundraising speech, he also viciously attacked the European Union, China, Japan, and South Korea.

DDT wants a military “space force” that “recognizes that space is a warfighting domain” because of his prediction that the U.S. would reach Mars “very soon.”

Another Infrastructure Week passed and so did any GOP interest about the serious problem in Congress. Also gone is any GOP interest in DACA.

Nineteen secretaries of state have contacted the Senate to protest the part of the House reauthorization bill for the Department of Homeland Security that allows armed federal agents to wander around at election polling places.

Almost two-thirds of people in the U.S. oppose the extensive increase in military funding—so of course, the Republicans think it’s a good idea.

Countdown: Federal funding runs out in seven days as Congress faces the sixth deadline for a bill that should have been passed almost six months ago. Lack of agreement by March 23, 2018 means that the government shuts down. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 signed over a month ago on February 9 didn’t cover appropriating the money for specific agencies and programs. The two parties are disagreeing on immigration, the wall, women’s reproductive rights, health care, and an infrastructure project. With this bill the last big one before the elections, GOP leaders are using it to address far too many issues because they are afraid of midterm elections.

Satisfaction with the direction of the United States dropped eight points in the past month to 28 percent, a loss of over 22 percent and the gain that DDT made with his State of the Union address. Republican satisfaction went down to 52 percent in a 15 point loss.

More later about the revolving White House door and the continued onslaught of lawsuits regarding federal government mismanagement.

March 9, 2018

DDT: Week Fifty-nine – Rampant Corruption

The media went crazy over the ballistic behavior of former campaign adviser Sam Nunberg after Robert Mueller subpoenaed his testimony and documents about major players in the Russia scandal.  Nunberg first declared that he would refuse to comply with the subpoena, especially because Roger Stone is so special to him, before he made the round of news shows and backed down after continually asking if he could be put in jail with his refusal. Tuesday ended with a delicious segment on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Nunberg showed up before the grand jury on Friday and testified. Grim-faced, he refused to comment afterward. While complaining on TV, he said that DDT knew about the June 2016 meeting between the Russian lawyer and his son and son-in-law a week before it occurred.

George Nadar, adviser to the United States Arab Emirates (UAE), also testified before a grand jury and is cooperating with Mueller. Nadar represented UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at a meeting in Seychelles meeting in January 2017 with a Russian investor, a friend of Vladimir Putin. ant Erik Prince, DDT’s adviser who founded Blackwater and Betsy DeVos’ brother. Prince had wanted to set up a private military army for DDT in Afghanistan. Mueller is collecting evidence that the Seychelles meeting was to create a back-channel communication system between DDT and Vladimir Putin and foreign money for DDT’s campaign as well as Nadar’s meetings with Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. Nadar’s testimony contradicted Erik Prince’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee about his encounter with the Russian oligarch in the Seychelles.

After the story about George Nadar broke, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) said, “I don’t have any clue who George Nader is.” Conaway is helping lead the House Intelligence Committee in the DDT-Russia scandal. In addition to his involvement with Russia, Nadar, DDT’s friend, was arrested for child pornography in 1985, including his having received a package with a film of young boys engaged in sexual acts and photos of nude boys. Reasons for the dismissal of the case are not clear.

Paul Manafort pled not guilty to all the charges against him in Virginia, but he is now wearing a second ankle tracking device, the other for Washington, because the two jurisdictions have different systems. The Virginia trial begins in July 10, followed by a September date in Washington.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is leading an inquiry into the $509 million loans Kushner obtained after meeting with the lenders in the White House.

DDT may have obstructed justice or tampered with witnesses by asking at least two of them—White House counsel Don McGahn and former chief of staff Reince Priebus—about their interviews with Mueller.

After head of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, testified that the president had not directed him to prevent Russia’s targeting U.S. elections, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to cover for DDT’s inaction, but thus far the State Department has spent $0 of the $120 million allocated to fight foreign cyberattacks on elections. Not one of the 23 analysts working in the Global Engagement Center speaks Russian, and the department has a hiring freeze. DDT is still delaying any sanctions ordered by law and denied that Russian meddling had anything to do with “our votes” in 2016. He promises a “very, very deep study” and “strong suggestions” before the 2018 midterms.

In a New Yorker story, Jane Mayer wrote that Russia blocked DDT from appointing Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, according to researcher Christopher Steele.

DDT keeps pushing the media to investigate the Russia collusion in the time of President Obama, and they have—with all roads ending at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refusing to release any information about Russian election meddling before DDT was elected. McConnell says that he’s “perfectly comfortable” with that decision to conceal the Russian election manipulation from the public.

Nastya Rybka (real name Anastasiz Vashukevich), an escort in Thailand, claims to have 16 hours of audio proof connecting the Russian campaign to DDT that she will release if the U.S. gets her out of prison.

Title X, the only federal grant program dedicated to comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services, will now favor programs with a focus on abstinence-only sex education and “natural” family planning methods. The over 4 million people who use this program for health department and other nonprofit community health centers, in place for almost a half century, may have more difficulty obtaining birth control or getting access to cancer and STD screenings with the new guidelines. Title X funded clinics helped people prevent 822,300 unintended pregnancies, averting 387,200 unplanned births and 277,800 abortions in just 2015.

Jeff Sessions is suing California to overturn state immigrations laws, including the program that inspects federal immigration detention centers for its rampant mistreatment and abuse by private companies. DOJ is also threatening any other states that pursue similar laws. State and local officials have complained about DDT’s ICE activities because they undermine local economies and make communities more dangerous.

DDT has decided to remove new tee markers with the presidential seal from his golf courses.  [Markers at Eagle Sign, New Albany (IN) and Louisville (KY)]  Manufacture or use of the seal, its likeness, “or any facsimile thereof” for other than government business is punishable by up to six months in prison. Earlier, DDT used the “family crest” that he took without permission from the family owning Mar-a-Lago.

After DDT said he talked to North Korea on the phone when he actually spoke to South Korean Moon Jae-in, he announced a meeting with North Korea in late May without any State Department or other diplomatic input, probably to draw attention from Russia or Stormy Daniels. Hours before DDT announced the talks, State Department Secretary Rex Tillerson said that talks would not be “realistic” or prudent yet. DDT put Kim Jong-un in control by elevating a rogue state to an equal to the United States—without any rewards for the U.S. The day after DDT’s announcement, the press secretary said that conditions need to be met before the meeting. Look for far more media about the meeting that may never happen.

Jared Kushner also ignored diplomats, including the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, when he met with the Mexican president.

At the Gridiron Dinner, a gathering of 65 journalists with a self-deprecating roast-like speech by the current president, DDT made all his jokes at the expense of his family, colleagues, and enemies. Before the speech, he said, “My staff was concerned that I couldn’t do self-deprecating humor.” He can’t.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA accused Stephen Colbert of being a “danger” to the nation after a segment in which Colbert showed a memo stating “Devin Nunes is a [redacted]” with the question about what the redacted word is. After trying to shut down the probe into the DDT-Russian collusion, Nunes added that Colbert, like others on the left, “attack people who are trying to get to the truth.” Colbert answered Nunes complaint by showing another segment in which he was unable to meet with the representative.

DDT’s tariffs on steel and aluminum will cost the nation at least 146,000 jobs. The steel manufacturing industry employs 140,000 people; manufacturing with steel provides 6.3 million jobs. The Constitution gives Congress the power to stop DDT, but the unhappy Republicans won’t cross him.

Virginia Heffernan described Ivanka Trump’s growing problems with her connections with former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who lied to the FBI; developer Felix Sater, guilty of a $40-million stock fraud scheme with the Russian mobsters; and Tamir Sapir, tied to racketeering with the Gambino crime family before he died. Ivanka brought Flynn to DDT, toured Russia with Sater, and collaborated with Sapir. Heffernan also described Ivanka’s involvement in shady real-estate projects.

When DDT hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Netanyahu said, “This will be remembered.” As the Mueller investigation gets closer to possible Russian collusion with DDT, Israeli police has recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three corruption cases, the most recent one this week. Mueller is getting closer to DDT’s corruption. “This will be remembered.”

Fond of dictators in other countries, DDT wants to emulate China after President XI Jinping wants to do away with any term limits in the Constitution. DDT praised Xi’s efforts to become “president for life” and said, “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Afraid of firing people, DDT lets others discharge them or belittles them in the hopes that they will quit. Now that DDT is ready to dispense with John Kelly as Chief of Staff, he has sent Anthony Scaramucci on the talk show circuit to smear Kelly. At least that’s what the media from left to right is reporting, although Scaramucci says the story from White House insiders isn’t true.

This last week, DDT tweeted that he was asking China for ways that they could reduce their trade deficit with the United States by $1 billion. DDT’s administration figure is actually $100 billion; he was off by $99 billion. And why would China want to do this?

More on the week with appointments, resignations, and lawsuits later.

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